The Cedar Rapids Gazette has excerpted parts of the search warrants used in yesterday's massive raid on Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the world.
Is your glatt kosher meat worth this?
…— Source #7, a legal Hispanic immigrant, was paid by ICE to look for a job at the plant early this year while pretending to be an illegal immigrant. All of the source's conversations with human resources staff, supervisors and other employees were recorded during the employment process. The first time the source was told that the Social Security number ICE provided for him or her to use did not match his or her name. The next week, the source was provided a different Social Security number to use with the same name and was hired. Source #7 discovered other employees were being paid in cash or with different colored checks than the ones he or she received, possibly by an elementary school worker in Postville identified as the point of contact on letters to Agriprocessors employees noting "misunderstandings" with the employees' Social Security numbers. The source's rent also kept being increased by his or her landlord, and was told by other Hispanics that happened to other workers, as well.
In February, Source #7 told ICE agents he or she observed a Jewish floor supervisor duct-tape the eyes of an undocumented Guatemalan worker shut and hit the Guatemalan with a meat hook, apparently not causing serious injuries. The Guatemalan did not want to report the incident because "it would not do any good and could jeopardize his job." The company fired illegal immigrants on occasion with no explanation.
— On May 4, 2006, sources #8, #9 and #10 were arrested in connection with an investigation of the production of a potential explosive device found in a vehicle registered to a resident of Postville. The materials likely came from the Agriprocessors mechanical shop. Two sources had obtained employment there with fraudulent documents they had purchased, and all were illegal immigrants.
— An Iowa Department of Transportation investigator learned from talking with Des Moines County Treasurer's Office personnel that Source #14 was involved in making applications to title and register cars on behalf of people living in Postville. The source said that, more than 200 times, he or she received application information and money and had the registrations and titles sent to various Burlington/West Burlington addresses. Source #14 then arranged to pick up the documents and sent them to the vehicle owners in Postville.
Other facts found in the search warrant:
— Agriprocessors was notified of more than 1,000 discrepancies between names and Social Security numbers on workers' W-2 forms sent to the IRS between 2002 and 2005.
— In 2005, the Iowa DOT audited a Cedar Rapids car dealership that was selling a number of vehicles to an Agriprocessors supervisor. The manager of the unnamed dealership said the supervisor was a "personal friend of theirs," and that they supplied a large volume of cars to the supervisor for resale to people in the Postville area. That year, more than 50 vehicles were sold in that manner. Sales to Postville residents appeared to represent about 90 percent of the dealership's business. The sales violated Iowa law, which requires all dealers to be licensed.
Employees said that supervisor coerced them and others into to buy vehicles from him or they would be fired or not promoted.
Of course, none of this is the OU's responsibility. Ditto for United Mehadrin Kosher (Rabbi Zeilingold), Supreme Kosher (Rabbi Wiessmandal), KAJ (who was at Agriprocessors during most of the time covered by the warrants), the Crown Heights Beis Din (Chabad-Lubavitch), or the other rrabbis who lend their names and imprimaturs to Rubashkin.
Because Orthodox rabbis only supervise the kosher status of the food. Any other Jewish laws violated in that food's production are left up to the government or others to enforce. (This is a paraphrase of a statement made by the OU's Rabbi Menachem Genack last year.)
Stop eating meat. Read ingredient labels. Buy whatever you want, hechsher or not.
Rabbis took Rubashkin's money and looked the other way.
It is time for us to turn away from all of them.